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January 22, 2015 10:00 AM, EST

Jan. 22 Roundup: J.B. Hunt, Covenant Post Higher 4Q Earnings

John Sommers II for TT

J.B. Hunt Transport Services and Covenant Transportation Group reported stronger fourth-quarter profits, providing a positive early look at quarterly financial results for large, publicly traded trucking companies.

J.B. Hunt said its fourth-quarter net income rose to $110 million, or 93 cents per share, from $92 million, or 77 cents, a year earlier. Quarterly revenue rose 9% to $1.61 billion, the intermodal and trucking company said in its Jan. 22 report.

For 2014, J.B. Hunt posted net earnings of $375 million, or $3.16 per share, up from $342 million, or $2.87, in 2013. Full-year revenue rose 10% to $6.2 billion.

Covenant’s net income jumped to $13.5 million, or 82 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, up from $3.3 million, or 22 cents, in the same period last year. The company’s average shares increased 9% after a public stock offering in November.

Quarterly revenue climbed 17% to $207 million, the company said Jan. 21.

Covenant Transport

The truckload carrier said net income for 2014 increased to $17.8 million, or $1.15 per share, from $5.2 million, or 35 cents, in the previous year. The 2014 results included a $7.5 million pretax increase to claims reserves resulting from an adverse judgment on a 2008 cargo claim.

Covenant’s annual revenue rose 5% to $719 million.

J.B. Hunt ranks No. 3 and Covenant No. 43 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers.

Two railroads also reported fourth-quarter financial results Jan. 22.

Union Pacific Corp. said net earnings rose to $1.4 billion, or $1.61 per share, from $1.2 billion, or $1.27, a year earlier. Quarterly revenue increased 9% to $6.2 billion.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. reported net income rose to C$451 million ($396.7 million), or C$2.63 per share from C$82 million, or 47 Canadian cents, a year earlier. The 2013 results were affected by a C$435 million charge that depressed earnings. Revenue rose 10% to C$1.76 billion.